SPEARFISH — It was born out of their mutual talents and interests: Artifacts Antiques and Art is a family-run business started by husband-wife team Dave Dutton and Bonnie Halsey-Dutton and their son, Drew.
“We didn’t have to think about it too long. We jumped before we could change our minds,” Halsey-Dutton said, explaining that they had been talking about opening a business for a while. Drew Dutton recently graduated with a mass communications degree from Black Hills State University; Halsey-Dutton is an artist and was teaching studio art out of her home studio; and Dave Dutton, who is retiring at the end of this week as the Spearfish city finance officer, has a penchant for antiques – especially those associated with military history. They began looking for a location that would allow them enough space for an antique mall, so they wouldn’t be the only dealers; display and teach art; and allow Drew Dutton to manage — and perhaps even provide a living space — and 740 N. Main St. allowed them to check off all the boxes.
Halsey-Dutton said that it must have been meant to be to find the location when they did. They had just returned from Portugal, where she teaches a workshop, and Halsey-Dutton decided to check to see what real estate sites might have been listed while they were gone. Though they were still experiencing jet lag, they recognized the building from their youth, when Lillian “Lee” Ervin had Spearfish Pottery and Mercantile in the space, specializing in her hand-thrown pottery and antiques refinished by her husband, John. Residents may recall Ervin’s name for a variety of reasons, one of which being that it was her vision for an arts and crafts festival in town that would go on to become the annual Festival in the Park.
Halsey-Dutton said that as a young girl, she took a lot of inspiration from seeing an artist/businesswoman being able to combine those talents, and she finds it delightful that they can bring the building back to the uses employed by Ervin.
The Duttons closed on the building in December and were able to renovate the interior to house the antique shop and art gallery for a May 1 opening.
Displayed in the shop is a placard that defines “artifacts” as “products of human workmanship, particularly items of cultural or historical interest,” and because it begins with the word, “art,” it provided the perfect foundation for the name of the business, the owners said.
Artifacts Antiques and Art includes a variety of antiques to browse, from furniture and books to jewelry and décor and more. Dave Dutton said that there will be additional military history items added as he goes through his collection, and there are also many items related to local history. Halsey-Dutton added that they are also carrying various local artisan crafts, including leatherwork, jewelry, embroidery, bronze art, and more.
On the gallery side, Halsey-Dutton carries some art supplies and plans to teach classes. She said that last summer, she did a few popup art events and plans to do more in conjunction with the Art Nest Gallery that opened May 1 in Old City Hall. They hope to have art events in the courtyard later in the summer.
Halsey-Dutton said that she also plans to have rotating exhibits in the gallery, showing other artists’ works, and her first workshop, focused on perspective drawing/painting, using downtown Spearfish as the inspiration, begins Tuesday.
Since opening, the Duttons have heard positive feedback from the community. Drew Dutton said that people have commented on how well organized the business is, as well as how the space has changed since its recent uses as High Mountain Outfitters and Bearly Used.
“They love the variety, too,” he said, describing that he hears many “Wows!” when people first walk into the art gallery portion of the store.
“It’s fun to hear,” Halsey-Dutton said, adding that what she’s enjoyed the most is reconnecting with people they haven’t seen in a long time and meeting new people.
Dave Dutton said that he enjoys hearing people talk about their collections, and Drew Dutton said that it is fun to watch the antiques in the shop bring back memories for people as they shop.
“Everything has a story, so it’s fun to hear people’s stories, to trade stories with people,” Halsey-Dutton said. “I think that’s a big part of it. That’s why all of these antiques have survived, is there’s a reason behind it, either a functional use, or ‘It was my grandma’s,’ or some story about why it’s still on this earth and not in the landfill, and I think that’s really intriguing. It’s been kept alive …”
She added that eventually, they hope to have an online option for purchasing antiques, and more arts classes will be added in the winter months.
Artifacts Antiques and Art is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday, and the owners said that being adjacent to two restaurants, the Stadium Sports Grill and RedWater Kitchen, Spearfish Brewing Co., Leones’ Creamery, and all that downtown Spearfish has to offer, creates a lot of foot traffic.
“It’s a great place. We wanted to be downtown,” Dave Dutton said, describing that they are looking forward to being an active part of downtown Spearfish, fostering the arts and sense of community. They also plan to be open later hours during Downtown Friday Nights as the season progresses.
The Duttons encouraged people to stop in to share their stories and see the space.
To read all of today's stories, Click here or call 642-2761 to subscribe to our e-edition or home delivery.